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Australian Bushfires

John Dolva

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If an entymologist, studying the migration of grasshoppers or locusts, finds that, in a checckerboard pattern of large cleared cutivated land and high growth tree/undergrowth areas, the spread of the pest is significatly retarded compared to standard manscapes. (thesis study - 70's-80's) : -

( The Natives in the Northern Australia have 12 seasons. (for millennia) Towards the end of the dry season before the hot season there is the smoky season. This is a man made season when one may be driving through never-never and come across, in the bush, the view of an old lady of the local mob carefully and slowly managing a fire that she rakes acorss the ground, clearing out the last seasons combustibles ( bushfire tends to spread by burning embers falling to the ground burning along to the next oil-filled eucalypt or tea tree or whatever, laden with oils, some of them potential explosive torches even in winter, and so on... ). )

- The checkerboard thesis suggested an application (then) relevant to the containment of wildfires ( which hit Oz again and again in an absolutely devastating way ) . If one was to not fight as such, but set up a few squares away, an absolute 'fire no-go' area through total saturation, and then fight the fire always retreating at a safe distance to the real true front line where the enemy will decicevily be brought to naught.

Many areas have all year fire bans. An area is bunt and wont reach the combustible threshold for many years. Every Australian lives through summer waiting to see if this is the year that they'll be hit and praying it wont. So everyone feels the pain of the loss of the Victorians.

Once my land was about 100 m from where the fire was stopped as it stormed up the valley wall driven by incredible winds. An intensive effort stopped the fire a few meters from a huge Australian heritage building. Had it caught, the fire could have jumped the road, the rail, and been in the town site. It's that incredible.

Australian fire fighters/volunteer brigades are true heroes.

I've stood watching in the middle of Sydney with nothing but red glowing clouds of smoke surrounding it and the fires making their way almost to the CBD before stopped.

Fire fighters have died racing down tracks as a fire at 140 k's follow and engulf leaving a charred wreckage and bodies. One telling photo shows two trucks about 10 m apart. The one ahead is totally burnt and a couple of charred corpses almost made it to the second truck which had enough water for its ontop sprinkler. The one with water for the sprinkler is standing pristine in a hemisphere of green bush surrounded by a uniform gray ash. Tragic. We live with this every summer, and it's often just pot luck to survive.

Edited by John Dolva
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